HEALS Inc. pushing for shoe donations - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

HEALS Inc. pushing for shoe donations

HEALS Inc. is accepting donations of new athletic shoes for children HEALS Inc. is accepting donations of new athletic shoes for children

A good pair of shoes can go a long way and a Huntsville-based community organization knows it.

That's why HEALS Inc. is accepting donations of new athletic shoes for children in need this winter.

HEALS Inc., short for Health Establishments at Local Schools, provides free health and dental care for students in title one schools in Huntsville.

But they're also known for their year-round shoe drive called "Heels for HEALS."

"Our supply is kind of down so we started a drive in February to replenish the shelves," said HEALS executive director Connie Carnes.

Carnes said a nurse who helped during one of their clinics years ago, noticed many children needed new shoes. Some were riddled with holes and bound with duct tape.

"She came up with the idea that the community might step behind and provide shoes for these kids and we started taking donations for shoes," Carnes said.

The idea took off. HEALS Inc. now gives away at least a thousand pairs of shoes every year, according to Carnes.

A recent cold snap depleted the group's supply of shoes so they're making an extra push to collect more shoes this month.

One family is one step ahead of them.

"Mr. Little, when he had his birthday party, his wife said ‘don't bring presents. Bring shoes for HEALS' and it was very touching," Carnes said.

Little's wife thought of the idea for her husband David's 40th surprise birthday party.

"It's pretty much what everybody did so we collected 40 pairs of shoes," Little said.

Little and Carnes both said they know a child's shoes can wear out quickly and easily -- so the need is there.

"There are young children in our schools that need shoes. Something that we take for granted is having a good pair of shoes on their feet," Little said.

Shoe donations can be dropped off at the HEALS administrative office on 1100 Meridian Street in Huntsville.

All shoe sizes are welcome but there is a greater need for boys sizes 4.5 to 9.5, men sizes 6.5 to 13, girls sizes 4.5 to 9.5 and women sizes 5, 5.5, and 8-12.

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